This marks the first time a privately made spaceship has safely docked to the $150 billion station, while carrying astronauts.
On Saturday, SpaceX made history by launching its new spaceship ‘Endeavour’ into space carrying two NASA astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. Now, the astronauts, along with Elon Musk’s rocket company, have made history yet again by docking to the International Space Station (ISS). Of course, as with everything in 2020, there was a live webcast.
— NASA (@NASA) May 30, 2020
These monumental events could pave the way for an exciting chapter of space tourism. The SpaceX ship is designed to carry up to 7 passengers and uses a system of touch screen controls with Hurley noting that “It flew just about like the [simulator], so my congratulations to the folks in Hawthorne. It flew really well, very really crisp.”
The pair of astronauts were thrust into orbit by a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday afternoon from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. While the Falcon landed safely on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean, the Endeavor had to catch up to the orbiting space station hurtling at 250 miles above the planet’s surface traveling 17,500 mph.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 31, 2020
Docking was completed at 10:30 a.m. ET, while passing in orbit over the northern border of China and Mongolia. Nasa captured the moment the very first time their astronauts have entered the station from a privately owned ship. This is also the first time in almost a decade that NASA has launched its own astronauts into space after ending the space shuttle program.
This is the first time in human history @NASA_Astronauts have entered the @Space_Station from a commercially-made spacecraft. @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug have finally arrived to the orbiting laboratory in @SpaceX‘s Dragon Endeavour spacecraft. pic.twitter.com/3t9Ogtpik4
— NASA (@NASA) May 31, 2020
“It’s been a real honor to be a super-small part of this nine-year endeavor since the last time a United States spaceship has docked with the International Space Station,” Hurley said shortly after docking.
“We have to congratulate the men and women of SpaceX at Hawthorne, McGregor, and at Kennedy Space Center. Their incredible efforts over the last several years to make this possible cannot go overstated.”
Featured Image: SpaceX via NASA